National Anthem is usually that song that reminds every person in the world who they are and which values they carry with them and service to their country; it is a song that when you sing, you feel united with the people of your country. In Africa it is usually the first song learnt in school as the government want them to incorporate a certain range of value, nationalism and patriotic attitude. Cameroon is a country in central Africa with its own problems like other countries. Officially, it is supposed to be a “unified” country; but it is hard to understand that a country is unified but has two different national anthems for French and English part of the country; we are not talking about the melody but about the message. Let us bear in mind that in Cameroon they sing only the first verse and the Chorus of their national anthem. Let us analyse both the French and English versions of it. Copy and translation of each version can be found on Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O_Cameroon,_Cradle_of_Our_Forefathers ) Official English lyrics O Cameroon, Thou Cradle of our Fathers, Holy Shrine where in our midst they now repose, Their tears and blood and sweat thy soil did water, On thy hills and valleys once their tillage rose. Dear Fatherland, thy worth no tongue can tell! How can we ever pay thy due? Thy welfare we will win in toil and love and peace, Will be to thy name ever true! Chorus: Land of Promise, land of Glory! Thou, of life and joy, our only store! Thine be honour, thine devotion, And deep endearment, for evermore. English translation of official French lyrics from Wikipedia . O Cameroon cradle of our ancestors, Go, upright and jealous of your freedom. As the sun, let your flag be proud, A symbol of ardent faith and unity, May all your children, from North to South From East to West, live in love! May serving you be their sole purpose To fulfil their duty forever. Chorus: Dear Fatherland, dear land, You are our only true happiness. Our joy, our life To you, love and the greatest honor. Although both have the same melody, they both have a different message. In the first verse, the French one expresses their respect for their ancestor, acknowledges their freedom, that their flag should be a symbol of their faith and unity (please dear reader keep in mind that this song was adopted in 1957, which means 3 years before LA REPUBLIQUE DU CAMROUN independence), that their children should live in love and serve their country forever. This is the verse sang by LA REPUBLIQUE DU CAMEROUN (LRC) citizens, and yes most of them apply what it says in the national anthem’s first verse especially authorities, who had annexed Southern Cameroon. Remember LRC got their independence in 1960 with their National Anthem already; while the Southern Cameroon was still under British authority. And in 1961 Southern Cameroon freely joined LRC into a federation. After that several thing changed: The Flag, the Constitution (where the federation was protected by his article 47), the creation of the English national assembly, and some other things like the Name of the country. But the National Anthem remained the same no change what so ever, instead a new version was added to Southern Cameroonians anthem. After the so call referendum and unification what has changed, again the flag, the dissolution of the English assembly, the constitution (ignoring the protection of the article 47 from the previous one), and the name of the country get back to his old original name (LA REPUBLIQUE DU CAMEROUN), again the National Anthem did not change and Southern Cameroonians stayed with that version which was imposed on them during the federation. It sounds like since the beginning of that union LRC had planned to impose their authority to Southern Cameroon, as they were always in control of the army, the flag, and the currency. This can explain why in Southern Cameroon there is an oil refinery but the bill and all the accountability is done in LRC by citizens of LRC; and the benefits of that oil money is invested in LRC. This can explain why in Victoria (Limbe) the army, the BIR (Fast intervention brigade) is LRC french force while the language there is English, this explains why there are over 35 army generals in the country and not even 3 from Southern Cameroon. This can explain why in Buea (Capital of Southern Cameroon) in every government institute the primary language is French when the main population speak English; why they had to move the CDC (Cameroon Development Corporation) headquarter from Victoria (Limbe) to Yaounde (LRC capital), the CDC was one of the last institutes respecting the rights and the thought of Southern Cameroonians especially the farmers; it was one of the last institutes that gave the feeling to people of Southern Cameroon that they are someone; it was one of those last hope of recognitions of their hard work. Basically Southern Cameroon works and produces wealth, and LRC takes all the profits exactly like during colonisation. In fact, instead of them working hard like their ancestors to make their land prosperous they use violence and guns to make the southern Cameroonian population to work hard for them. Like it says in the first verse: “May serving you be their sole purpose to fulfil their duty forever” even if it means oppressing, stealing and killing innocent people. Their chorus is just as clear: “Dear Fatherland, dear land, You are our only true happiness. Our joy, our life To you, love and the greatest honor” which literally means we will make our best to take everything back to our Land and under our control
. On the other hand, the English version expresses in the first verse; their respect for their ancestor, acknowledges their sacrifices, their hard work, the fact that their land cannot be sold as any tongue can the worth of it; that the welfare of that land will be win through work love and peace (please reader keep in mind that this version came up after the Southern Cameroonians freely accepted to join LRC in a federation; and the land in this case is only about the Southern Cameroonian land). This is what is sang in the Southern Cameroons, basically they taught the Southern Cameroon population to love, to care and to protect their land. So there is no surprise when people who know the truth about our history, who grew up with that love of their fatherland, join the SCNC to fight for the freedom and the prosperity of that land; there is no surprise when those people are ready to die for what is right. As the chorus said it well: Land of Promise, land of Glory! Thou, of life and joy, our only store! Thine be honour, thine devotion, And deep endearment, for evermore. Southern Cameroon is a land of Glory, of life, of joy and a store where you can find fresh food in every season, a store of mineral resources and oil; where the population welcome everybody in love and peace. Southern Cameroonian must continue to fight and free their Land of Promise. We have two different educational systems from nursery school to high school, two different national anthems for each part of the country with two different messages for the same country but we are supposed to be unified. Nowadays the use of the new penal code is to keep us quiet as it is stipulate on it article 111 that can be found here https://www.prc.cm/en/multimedia/documents/4721-law-n-2016-007-of-12-july-2016- relating-to-the-penal-code-en . Can we really speak about “unity” in that country, or annexation of Southern Cameroon?
By Gutenberg Ngadjeu Mbakop